Wisconsin senior wide receiver Jared Abbrederis said in this week's NFL.com College Football 24/7 podcast that he's had an "OK" start to the season.
So, 33 receptions for 572 yards (17.3 yards per catch) and four touchdowns through five games is just an "OK" start? And remember -- he's produced those numbers on a run-first team with a new coaching staff and a new quarterback and lacking an established No. 2 (and a No. 3, for that matter) wide receiver.
Abbrederis (6-foot-2, 190 pounds) obviously has high standards for himself, but even he had to be pleased with his performance last week in a 31-24 loss at Ohio State. Abbrederis had the best game of his career -- 10 receptions for 207 yards and a touchdown -- and it came while he was being shadowed by Ohio State's Bradley Roby, considered the best cornerback in the nation by numerous analysts. Abbrederis schooled Roby, to the point that by late in the first half, the Buckeyes were sending safety help Roby's way.
Wisconsin receiver coach Chris Beatty told the Wisconsin State Journal that some NFL scouts that were at the Badgers' football offices Monday were impressed with Abbrederis' performance.
"They were like, 'Hey, your boy went off,' and he did," Beatty told the newspaper. "(The NFL) is long range and I know he's disappointed we didn't win. He wants to win; that's more than the stats or anything like that. At the same time, you're playing against arguably the best corner in the country -- when you have a day like that, it can't hurt (his draft stock)."
Abbrederis is in his third season as a starter after beginning his career as a walk-on quarterback. He is a good blocker, can get deep (his career average is 16.8 yards per catch), has good hands and is an excellent route-runner.
He is not a blazer (4.5 in the 40-yard dash), but he is elusive, has shown the necessary physicality to get away from press coverage and has shown big-play ability as a return man. Abbrederis was bothered by a chest injury last season but still was a first-team All-Big Ten pick and is well on his way to a second consecutive first-team selection.
"He's the full package," Badgers coach Gary Andersen told the State Journal. "He understands zone coverages; he's going to get into the holes. He's very talented when it comes to catching contested balls."
Abbrederis said on the podcast that he grew up as a Green Bay Packers fan -- he's from Wisconsin, and isn't it a state law for Wisconsin natives to be Packers fans? -- and admired Packers receiver Jordy Nelson and former Packers receivers Greg Jennings (now with the Minnesota Vikings) and Donald Driver, who retired after last season. He also admitted, though, he was a big Larry Fitzgerald fan.
He said that he had set a few personal goals this season, most notably 10 TDs and 1,000 receiving yards. The closest he came to those numbers was in 2011, when he had 933 yards and eight TDs (and a career-high 55 receptions). This season, he is on pace for 79 receptions, 1,367 yards and 10 touchdowns.